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New: ESU CabControl DCC system.


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  • RMweb Gold

@young37215 AFAIK the latest Mc2 has been out at least 6 months, I purchased one from Peters Spares, TBH im not sure what your expecting. I have had to send it for repairs and had a new one sent to me by ESU in the last month however, the specs are as follows

 

CPU Quadcore A33

Memory 1gb

Android Version 6.01

 

Android is starting to require more memory and the MC2 would require an upgrade and the battery life is bad enough as it is without having more memory to support.

 

as regards your question...fitting a higher capacity batter should be fine as long as the voltage is the same and it fits :) n....but....I doubt if the access point would have the capacity to charge it....

 

im sure I read somewhere someone found a way of accessing the boot loader on the MC2 and managed to upgrade android to a later version.....but they didn't release how they did it.

 

Edit....I note that the app sat idle consumes 407mb of ram....if the previous MC II only had 512mb it's likely that it was writing swap files to flash.....which would explain the poor battery life...

 

 

 

Edited by pheaton
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On 29/12/2020 at 12:16, Ron Ron Ron said:


If you read some anecdotal reports from the US, they suggest the updated MC2 handsets have been quietly released, but there’s no supporting evidence for this and the ESU web site still has the system specs showing the older processor, smaller memory and ancient version of Android.


ESU have always been slow to update their web site, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the updated product has been available for a while, but not reflected in information published on the site.  However, we just don’t know at the moment, unless someone has a factory fresh MC2 and reads the unit’s system info.

 

 

.
 

Ron,

 

There is plenty of evidence, not least my post on 5 July (almost 6 months ago) of photos of the MC2 running Android 6 alongside one running Android 4. The external hardware is identical as you could see if you look at the photos again. Both run the same version of the MC2 app. The only difference was that the Android 6 version didn't display the function numbers on the function buttons, but the original Android 4 version did, for reasons unknown to users, and to ESU at the time.

 

On the ESU users forum there were several posts from new CabControl users in the USA and new MC2 users elsewhere over the last 6 months complaining that they couldn't see the function numbers and asking how to get them displayed. These folks didn't know that they had the updated Android 6 model. So there is plenty of supporting evidence that the Android 6 version is being sold.

 

Functionally, the Android 4 and 6 versions are identical. The external appearance is unchanged, and both run the same app whose appearance hasn't changed despite the move to Android 6.

 

ESU haven't added bluetooth,  speakers, or an SD/Micro SD card slot, so to all intents and purposes the MC2 is unchanged as far as users are concerned as the additional memory and Android 6 are invisible to users. The big benefit might be better battery charge retention when the MC2 isn't used for a period, if Android 6 proves to be less power hungry when "turned off" than Android 4. I can't comment on that as I haven't seen any posts about battery shelf life from MC2 Android 6 users. ESU may have decided that as the Android 6 model is virtually the same product when in use as the Android 4 one, there was no need to change the product description nor the part numbers or issue an updated user manual. Or they may not have had time or resources to make what are virtually cosmetic changes to the website in these troubled times.......

  

And, for the record, the recent update of the MC2 app to 1.1.7 has fixed the issue with the function button numbers not being shown on Android 6 handsets. So without looking at the Op System in the Settings Menu, users can't tell them apart.

Edited by GoingUnderground
Corrected spelling
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13 hours ago, pheaton said:

.....im sure I read somewhere someone found a way of accessing the boot loader on the MC2 and managed to upgrade android to a later version.....but they didn't release how they did it....

They probably used the same method that at least one MC2 owner was given to reflash Android 4 at home when their handset suffered the boot lockup/freeze problem. It was described in outline on the ESU Forum at the time, but ESU rapidly removed it, presumably to avoid getting handsets back that had been trashed beyond repair by users attempting the reflash.

 

If someone knows what to do and has the courage, I'm sure that Android 4 could be replaced on an older MC2 with 6 or possibly an even later version. But the question is whether there is enough memory to run 6 or later on the original MC2 hardware. Also Android 6 is also quite old, so there may be problems getting hold of a suitable copy of the 6 ISO or whatever an ISO is called in Androidworld.

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  • RMweb Gold
2 hours ago, GoingUnderground said:

They probably used the same method that at least one MC2 owner was given to reflash Android 4 at home when their handset suffered the boot lockup/freeze problem. It was described in outline on the ESU Forum at the time, but ESU rapidly removed it, presumably to avoid getting handsets back that had been trashed beyond repair by users attempting the reflash.

 

If someone knows what to do and has the courage, I'm sure that Android 4 could be replaced on an older MC2 with 6 or possibly an even later version. But the question is whether there is enough memory to run 6 or later on the original MC2 hardware. Also Android 6 is also quite old, so there may be problems getting hold of a suitable copy of the 6 ISO or whatever an ISO is called in Androidworld.

Hi Keith...

 

Its odd because android 6 is quoted as needing 2gb of ram to run, but I suspect this is a recommendation rather than a requirement....and ESU have slimmed it down for there usage... ISTR that Android 4 was recommended 1gb, which is why I think it may have been "swapping" to flash and chewing up battery life...interestingly....my PC recognises the MC II as a HP G7 tablet....which has the following specs...

 

https://support.hp.com/in-en/document/c04459235

 

HP only officially support it up to 4.42 

 

Be interesting to see if there are any hacky bashers out there that have shoe-horned a later version on....but if im honest I dont think it has the ram to support a higher version of android...

 

 

oh....and @GoingUnderground I can confirm it still chews through battery life when in standby!! But one thing I have turned off is location as its not needed and this seems to have had a good improvement on battery life.

 

Edited by pheaton
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Iron Planet Hobbies from the US have Cab Control in stock and confirm that the MC2 unit is the upgraded version.

 

I have finally made the jump and placed an order for one. I am sure I will be back seeking further advice when I manage to make a horlics of installing it!

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8 hours ago, young37215 said:

Iron Planet Hobbies from the US have Cab Control in stock and confirm that the MC2 unit is the upgraded version.

 

I have finally made the jump and placed an order for one. I am sure I will be back seeking further advice when I manage to make a horlics of installing it!

While you're waiting for your CC to arrive, download and read the CabControl manual http://www.esu.eu/en/downloads/instruction-manuals/digital-systems/ You don't need to register to download the manual. That way you might hit the ground running. 

 

When it arrives, register with the ESU website http://www.esu.eu/en/start as that is the only way that you can access the updates to the ICU firmware, the most recent one being 4.2.8 as you might find that yours may have 4.2.5. You will need your CabControl ICU's Serial Number to get access to the ECoS/CabControl Support forum on the ESU website. It is also a good place to get advice about CabControl. Updating the ICU Firmware is covered in section 15.2 of the manual.

 

You might also like to download and install the MC2 update tool from the ESU website, http://www.esu.eu/en/downloads/software/mobile-control-ii-firmware/ just in case yours arrives with 1.1.6 as there has been an update to 1.1.7 of the MC2 app (ESU calls it a "firmware" update tool, but it's not a firmware update, it just lets you update the MC2 Android app). This update tool is a Windows program, so if you've got an Apple or run Linux then you're going to have to find a Windows emulator for your non-Windows computer. As I write this, there are 2 versions for download on the ESU website, you want to most recent one, dated 14-5-19. The process for updating the MC2 app is covered in section 15 .1 of the manual.


And before you ask, as many CabControl owners do, you cannot load the Loco icons for the ECoS in the Loco Icon Bazaar on to your Cab Control ICU despite the reference to "User icons" in section 11.4.2 of the manual, the manual is wrong. If you're expecting UK outline loco icons to be included in the loco "System icons" then you're going to be disappointed as the last time that I looked, (as I believe that the CC system loco icons are the same as on the ECoS), the only UK one was for a Class 08. The other 511 are either Mainland European or US or Australian locos.  

 

It's unlikely that you will make a mess of installing it as it should work out of the box for you, but do charge up the MC2 handset first. If it's been sitting on a shelf the battery may be flat. If the finish on the handset looks crinkled or scratched, that may be the protective film, it fooled me when when I first got my MC2.

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The practical guidance is much appreciated. I had already downloaded the user manual but was unaware of the ways in which interaction with ESU takes place. I am keen to get exploring so fingers crossed that the delivery from the USA by DHL arrives in the next few days. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

My Cab Control arrived today and has been set up in line with the instructions contained in the manual. However whilst the boot up routine of both ICU and MC2 appear to follow what the manual says will happen, I don't seem to have power to the track. I say don't seem because whilst I removed all locos from the layout, I left a set of coaches which have lights and these have not illuminated. I tried a single loco with a Loksound V4 chip in it but it did not register with the MC2. I manually registerd the loco but get no response from turning the rotary power dial. The blue light on the ICU illuminates when I turn the rotary wheel which the manual says indicates a connection between ICU and MC2. The MC2 also shows a connection to the ICU when I check the settings.

 

I have used the existing cabling and power BUS which was happily working earlier today with my Prodigy. I have double checked the new connection to the ICU (it is connected to main, not programme track) and all appears good. Page 8 of the instructions covers the Power Supply where I have adjusted the voltage to the lowest, 15V setting as I am running OO as recommended. Taking the start up step by step, on powering up the ICU the power status light shows green and steady. The blue light for Wifi illuminates and the track status light begins to blink. That is as far as things go, the cooling fan does not audibly start as a test and the track status light continues blinking when I attempt to turn on track power by turning the rotary dial on the MC2. The MC2 says it is connected to the ICU.  

 

When I reconnect my Prodigy everything works fine. Can anyone make sense of my ramblings and, better still, make any suggestions as to what I am doing wrong?

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You need to select track power on.

The track status light blinking on the ICU, indicates it hasn’t been turned on.

 

Status LED for Track Power. (Blinks if track power is OFF. Steady on Green when Track Power is ON.)


 

 

Edited by Ron Ron Ron
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Thanks for the thought. I have attempted to select power on using the Stop button but this has no effect. I have tried a quick press of the button and holding it down for a few seconds, neither work. I have watched a couple of Youtube videos and the this is what they do to get power on. Is there any other way to select power on?

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2 hours ago, Ron Ron Ron said:

Are you using the top right hand function button on the side of the handset?
 

Yes, the one marked Stop

 

Quote

What colour is the track status LED on the handset, red or green?


Flashing green

I will check the button setting to see if it is correctly configured to turn power on or off. The battery is flat this morning so I need to recharge the MC2  first

 

i appreciate your help 

 

Quote

 

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Handset now recharged and started up. ICU boots up in line with the manual with track power light blinking. MC2 connects to the ICU wifi on start up. Coach lights remain out indicating that there is no power to the track. I start the MC 2 control app, the power light is red. On pressing the Stop button (top button on the right of the MC2) the MC2 power light flickers momentarily green and then back to red. There remains no power to the track. I cannot find any setting to show or change what the Stop button is configured to do. 

 

On Page 6 of the manual Section 6.1 references the ICU. The top of the ICU box has a number of lights and the manual details what each one is. The brief video clip below shows the mains power is on and the track power is not. The blue status light (No 3 in the manual) lights up on the ICU momentarily when the MC 2 is in use but then goes out.  I think this correct but am not certain.

 

To stop the MC2 discharging its battery I have switched it off and connected it to an old mobile phone charger with the mains on. The charger appears to work as the charging icon shows on the screen of the MC2.

 

 

 

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11 minutes ago, young37215 said:

Handset now recharged and started up. ICU boots up in line with the manual with track power light blinking. MC2 connects to the ICU wifi on start up. Coach lights remain out indicating that there is no power to the track. I start the MC 2 control app, the power light is red. On pressing the Stop button (top button on the right of the MC2) the MC2 power light flickers momentarily green and then back to red. There remains no power to the track. I cannot find any setting to show or change what the Stop button is configured to do. 

 

 

You say "coach lights" - what else is on the track ?   It is possible its a power-overload on startup, powering all the things on the layout, and overloading the current trip.  

 

I would change things so it is:  two wires out of master unit going to 1 length of isolated track.  On that track place no more than one vehicle at a time.  Try the startup with that arrangement.    If it starts, then can start to discuss what the issue may be with the layout.    If it fails to start, I think you should discuss it with the supplier, or ESU's US operation.  

 

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Thanks Nigel

 

All locos have been removed from the layout in line with ESU's guidance. The coaches are the only thing that should be drawing power so I don't think or see how there can be an overload. I have just tried connecting the power to a single, isolated length of track both with a loco on it and without. In both cases I get exactly the same issue. 

 

I will revert to the supplier and see what they have to say. 

 

Rob

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I don't own a CabControl, only an ECoS and MC2 handset, but I think your problem could have 2 different causes.

 

The first possibility is as follows. You say that you're pressing the STOP button to toggle the track power on and off, but there isn't an actual Stop button. The Stop button is the panel below the throttle knob with the word STOP on it, not the top button on the side next to the word stop. This is shown in the manual, but the placing of the line to indicate the actual STOP button does make it look like the side button is the stop button.

 

The second possibility might be this. As the MC2 handset is the only link with the ICU, the blue light should be on all the time as shown in this video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TN_R-GonlE and this one from ESU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxeBXjvy3Ew It is a bit harder to see in the second video, but it does light up and stay on.

 

If you look at section 13 of the manual you'll see that there is a setting "Act as Main Controller" and when set, this turns off the track power if the WiFi connection is lost. That makes sense as if that wasn't the case and you had a loco running when contact was lost the loco would keep running......... I leave you to guess on what the consequences of that might be.

 

So I think that the track power may not be staying on because the MC2 app is losing connection with the ICU, and when that happens the ICU shuts down track power automatically. Why the MC2 and the ICU are losing their connection I don't know.

 

I can't say from here which it might be.

 

Edited by GoingUnderground
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On 14/01/2021 at 14:13, young37215 said:

..... ICU boots up in line with the manual with track power light blinking. ....

..... MC2 connects to the ICU wifi on start up....

..... I start the MC 2 control app, the power light is red.....

 

To isolate the potential problem, with everything switched off, first disconnect the green track power connector on the rear of the ICU.

There should be nothing connected to the ICU, but the power lead.

No track or programming track wires...nothing.

 

Power up the ICU first, with the MC2 off.

On boot up, all lights will flash momentarily - ignore.

Once started...

on the ICU you should get....

1. a steady green power light ( which you say you have)

2. a slowly flashing green track power light (indicating, track power is set to off).

 

Power up the MC2.

Once started, select the ESU CC app.

Once the app is open, there should be....

1. a steady blue light on the ICU, to indicate the MC2 and ICU are connected...and...

2. there should be a red track power light on the MC2.

3. the green track power light on the ICU should continue to flash on and off.

 

If there is no steady blue light on the ICU, then there is no communication with the MC2 - and there should be no track power light on the MC2  (i.e. no red or green).

In this case, go into the MC2 settings and find WiFi. 

Open this and select the ICU as your WiFi connection. This will establish direct contact between the MC2 and the ICU, avoiding using your local home WiFi network for the moment.

 

Once you have Done this, there should be....

1. a steady blue light on the ICU (to indicate that the 2 units are talking)  and.... 

2. a red track power light on the MC2 (which can only illuminate if the 2 units are talking).

Also...

3. the track power light on the ICU should continue to flash (which matches the red light on the MC2).

 

With a steady blue light on the ICU and a red track power light on the MC2, you are ready to go.

Just select either the touch "Stop/Pause" button on the front of the handset....

...or the top right hand function button, on the right hand edge of the handset.

(n.b. this function button doubles as a "Stop" button by default, out of the box. It can be re-assigned in settings, to another function if you wish).

 

Track power should switch on, resulting in....

1. a steady green light on the MC2, and...

2. a steady green track power light on the ICU.

 

If all that works then the issue is not with the ICU or MC2.

 

 

On 14/01/2021 at 14:13, young37215 said:

On pressing the Stop button (top button on the right of the MC2) the MC2 power light flickers momentarily green and then back to red.

There remains no power to the track.....

 

.....The blue status light, lights up on the ICU momentarily when the MC 2 is in use but then goes out. ....

 

 

Again, to test the system, make sure the track connector is removed.

 

If the track power light on the MC2 changes from red to green, but immediately reverts to red, then either....

1. a short or overload is detected, or

2. communication with the ICU has been lost (....as Keith has suggested).

 

If the blue light on the ICU goes out, then communication is lost and the MC2 cannot control the ICU (e.g. switching track power on or off).

 

How are you connecting the MC2 to the ICU ?

What did you select on initial (first time) set-up?

 

You will need to go into the settings to confirm selection of the ICU as the WiFi connection.

If the settings are all correct, but there is still a problem with a WiFi connection to the ICU, then it could be interference, a poor WiFi signal, or a fault on either of the 2 units.

 

Ron

 

 

.

 

 

 

Edited by Ron Ron Ron
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Thanks Guys, I am grateful for your input. Ron's last post arrived just as I was finishing my reply to Keith's earlier one. I will return to the payout and disconnect the wires to the track. Then I will run the start up routine again to see what happens.

 

The wifi connection appears robust and stable, the blue light on the ICU shows no flickering. The MC2 connects to the ICU using the default ESU wifi setting. 

 

The short video below shows visually what I am experiencing. I only identified the increased blink rate of the track power light as I was taking the video.  

 

 

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18 minutes ago, Ron Ron Ron said:

(n.b. this function button doubles as a "Stop" button by default, out of the box. It can be re-assigned in settings, to another function if you wish).

 

I checked the settings which show the top right function button is set up as a Stop/Start button for power

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I just re-started the system without any track connections and get exactly the same outcome as I did previously. 

 

Just to clarify, I am UK based and have connected the power supply unit to the UK mains using a standard plug and connector that fits into the PSU. From comments made earlier in the thread and the ESU manual, this should work.

 

 

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Sounds very similar to a problem my ECoS spontaneously developed a couple of years ago. As soon as you turned it on it would act as if there was a short, and shut down. Even with nothing connected to the track outputs. In my case it was out of warranty, so it cost me about £250 for a new main board and had to go back to Germany.

 

I'd be getting in touch with your retailer, hopefully the postage won't be prohibitive...

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11 minutes ago, young37215 said:

I just re-started the system without any track connections and get exactly the same outcome as I did previously.....

 

 

Just saw the last video , which makes it very clear.

The rapidly flashing green track power light on the ICU, indicates a short.

 

If the same short is occurring with the track wires disconnected, that is with the green plug removed as well, not just the wires alone, then check the socket on the back of the ICU, to check it anything has got in there to bridge the pins.

Also check the socket holes on the base of the ICU, to see if anything has got in there.

If those are both OK, it's the ICU.

 

Do a factory reset first and follow the initial set-up procedure again.

If the problem is still there, it's definitely the ICU at fault.

 

Ron

 

 

.

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